The Birdy Bunch


After the final episode of the abruptly, unfortunately canceled Nightly Show this past Thursday, I stuck around to watch @Midnight. With the quadrennial carnivals that are the US Presidential campaign and the Summer Olympics providing no shortage of springboards for Twit-friendly humor, I’m assuming we have Chris Hardwick’s Saturday wedding and the program's attendant two-week hiatus to thank for the evening’s Hashtag Wars category: #BirdTV. Personally, I enjoy having an evergreen topic to riff on given that updates to the blog will continue to be infrequent for some months, so here — minus a few (bird)brainstorms that I’d seen others beat me to when I took a quick scroll through the feed on Twitter — are…

My Top Twenty-Six Avian Television Shows

26 America’s Got Talons

25. The Young and the Nestless

24. Feather Knows Best

23. Sesame Tweet

22. Make Room for Dodos

21. Harpy Days

20. Parrothood

19. The Eggs Files

Auto Tunes


I’m sure that most of you are familiar by now with James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, a — really, the — standout feature of his brief tenure as host of The Late Late Show on CBS. You’ve already seen its latest installment, in which Corden drives around Manhattan with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Audra MacDonald, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Jane Krakowski. So you don’t need me to link to it.

Video screencap of a car interior with Corden at viewer's right in the driver's seat, Miranda in the passenger seat, and the other tree in the rear, all with mouths open while singing and gesturing

But I just did anyway.

Nor do you need me to tell you that Corden will host the 70th Annual Tony Awards telecast, in which Miranda’s smash-hit musical Hamilton is nominated for a record 16 awards, on that same network this coming Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

Ready Player Four


Blanco surrounded by teammates in the Phillies dugout
Photo of No. 4 Andrés Blanco getting high-fived by No. 3 David Lough © 2016 MLB/Phillies.

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a nice profile of Andrés Blanco on Thursday. I can definitely appreciate a hot power hitter, dominant pitcher, or shortstop who owns his zone, but there's something that resonates with me about a reliable utility player shining when subbed in and given an occasional start. Blanco — signed out of Venezuela by the Kansas City Royals’ organization at 16 years old, yet only now playing in the majors full-time at twice that age — is such a guy on an underdog team that sure needs him. Seeing that he grinds out the practice, respects his success, and gives back to his community makes it all the better. The Phillies hope that rebuilding for the future doesn't mean entirely failing to contend today; me, I hope that whenever things do turn around again Blanco is here for it.

Kindred Posts: Numbers GameHello, GoodbyeThis One Goes to Eleven

Get Carter Back


ABC finally canceled Marvel’s Agent Carter last week. The short-run winter series, which spelled the fall and spring halves of Agents of SHIELD these past two years, had been a ratings disappointment. Once star Hayley Atwell was cast by the network in a potential regular-season legal drama, now picked up to series, writing met wall.



You can’t entirely blame ABC, who clearly wants to be in business with Atwell.
SHIELD itself has hardly been a ratings bonanza — due in part to ongoing identity crises, tensions between Marvel’s film and television enterprises that leave the big-screen blockbusters bereft of nearly any reference to (and, thus, what should be no-brainer promotion of) the show, and the general demands that “peak TV” has put on viewers’ time. I’ve enjoyed both SHIELD and Carter, however, even as what they do well makes my frustration over what they could be doing better all the greater.

Stella Saner 1916-2016


Stella Saner would have been 100 years old today, had she not passed early in the morning of January 21st with her daughter, my mother, at her side.

Here’s a lightly edited version of what I wrote to read at her memorial service.


A pair of black-and-white photographs
Top: Stella Saner in 1946 with her husband, Leon, and two
daughters, Ronda and Sherie. Bottom: Stella with Sherie in 2015.


I have a distinct memory of being in my grandparents’ bedroom in the pink house in Wildwood — not sure I’m even in the double digits at this point — as Grandmom tells me that while the face in her mirror keeps getting older she doesn’t feel any older inside.